The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has disclosed that about 252 mining companies have signed the Community Development Agreement (CDA) to provide basic infrastructures to host communities in Nigeria.
Alake said this while giving his keynote address at the launch of the revised CDA in Abuja on Thursday.
The minister admitted that mining projects have the potential to impact host communities either positively or negatively. He added that the negative effects are often met with incessant complaints and sometimes resistance that may trigger forceful closure or suspension of activities in the mines.
The CDA can help prevent a “repeat of social crises experienced in the Niger/Delta by the Oil Sector, which may undermine the present efforts of the Federal Government aimed at diversifying our monolithic economy.”
The minister noted:
- “So far, the Ministry has recorded increased compliance level in the implementation of CDA covenants by MTH through field monitoring, enlightenment, education and sensitization exercises.
- “A lot of successes have been recorded in the signing of Community Development Agreement between Mining Operators and their respective Host Communities. Presently, about 252 Companies have signed CDAs with their host communities with projects things as the provision of boreholes, electricity, schools, health centers, road constructions and scholarships according to the identified needs of their host communities.
- “However, there are still some companies that are yet to comply with the provision of this Section of the Act and the Ministry is not relenting on its enforcement to ensure that all MTHs comply accordingly.”
According to the minister, the general visions of a Community Development Agreement (CDA) are:
- To improve the relationships between the Companies, their host Communities, the Governments, the civil societies and other stakeholders; and
- To promote sustainable and mutually rewarding benefits from mining projects to the host communities.
The CDA is contained in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA), 2007.
Section 116 (1) of NMMA, 2007 makes the CDA between the Mineral Title Holders and the Mining Communities mandatory.
A guideline for the CDA was first developed in 2014 by the ministry.
However, the need for a revision was due to some identified gaps in the existing CDA Guidelines and due to numerous complaints and petitions from the communities.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) recently disclosed that about 82 mining companies failed to make the mandatory social payments to host communities.
In its Industry report for the Solid Minerals Industry for 2021, out of 121 companies, only 39 made the mandatory social payments in line with the community development agreement.
Earlier in October, Alake warned that any mining company that breaches community development agreements or fails to comply with necessary regulations may lose their licences.